Gastronomically Terrific

April 8, 2014

Three fish pie

Filed under: fish, main — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 3:57 pm
Fish pie with eggs

Three fish pie before the mashed potato topping was added

Inspired by Mary Berry Cooks, which is currently on TV, I decided to make this three fish pie when my parents came to visit for the weekend. Whilst it’s perhaps not the most unusual of dishes, it does lend itself to being made in advance and then just popped in the oven an hour or so before you want to eat it. This was perfect for me because I had a day or two off of work before my parents arrive at lunchtime. So I cooked up the fish mixture, hard boiled the eggs and added them to the casserole dish, and then all I needed to do before dinner was boil and mash some potatoes, and put the whole thing in the oven.

It was a fun dish to make, although there are a fair few bits to it. You need to make a sauce, then cut up the fish filling and add it to the sauce mixture. Of course, this was all made doubly hard by the fact that I was essentially cooking the meal twice – one with fish for most of us, and a vegetarian version with halloumi cheese for my husband at the same time. I ended up cooking each one separately in the end as so many things needed attention at the same time (the eggs, the sauce and you’re chopping fish). And I wasn’t even cooking the potato at this point!

Overall, a tasty dish, and a good one to prepare in advance, but nothing super special to impress anybody; and a fair amount of effort to put in. Fine if that’s what you want, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry Cooks (the recipe is on the BBC Food website)



February 4, 2014

Fettucine with scallops and porcini

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 5:04 pm

This was the lunch I made for my friend and I for our study session. I chose the meal because it seemed like a good way to use up dried porcini mushrooms – although it turns out that scallops are expensive in January!

It was a fun dish to cook though, if not the simplest. After soaking the dried mushrooms, you then need to fry up the scallops, garlic and mushrooms before adding cream, lemon juice and mushroom water. It’s really only the soaking of the mushrooms that makes this take longer than many dishes – but I made it twice as hard for myself by cooking Dan a vegetarian version, where I substituted the fish with halloumi.

Whilst both dishes were pretty tasty, I did overdo the halloumi a little, so Dan’s dish was somewhat saltier than perhaps it could have been. This is also very much a lunch dish rather than a dinner, at least in my head – there just aren’t enough vegetables in it for a dinner. This could easily be counteracted by adding additional suitable vegetables, but as it was it made a pretty good lunch attempt. Oh, one final point – I substituted the fettucine for linguine; just because I couldn’t find any fettucine in the shops. I’m not convinced it mattered one way or the other!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Daily Cookbook, pg. 246 (6 October)

February 23, 2011

Italian Cod/Halloumi

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:36 pm

This slightly surprising way of eating cod was well adapted to Halloumi, although Anna assures me the cod was better. Still, it was a very pleasant dinner for not a huge amount of effort.

"Italian" Cod with breadcrumbs, with tasty potato cakes.

As you can see from the picture, the basic idea is to bake some cod with a breadcrumb topping that goes all crisp, and stops the fish from charring.¬† Onto this is placed a “dressing”, which is basically herbs and lemon – as usual I went overboard with the parsley ūüôā

Halloumi baked with breadcrumbs and mixed yumminess.

The halloumi replacement works very well, although the flavours don’t compliment the subtle flavourings in the drizzle and breadcrumbs in the way cod probably does.¬† It also sticks if you forget to grease the pan (which is why all the breadcrumbs fell off mine, and then were piled up on top…)¬† What makes it Italian is up for discussion – perhaps the herbs?¬† I’m pretty sure that the Halloumi is not served “Italian style” at any rate!

We had these with a favourite way of cooking potatoes – “leek and potato cakes with Gruy√®re”.

The Cod/Halloumi recipe (about 3 servings…)

To make the breadcrumbs: Melt a knob of butter and then mix well with a crumbled slice of bread, the rind and juice of half a lemon, 15g chopped walnuts, a sprig of rosemary and a tbsp chopped parsley.

To bake the cod/halloumi: grease and line a baking tray with tinfoil; cut 75g of halloumi into strips and lay our, or 150g cod fillet (per person). Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over and bake at 200 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes.

To make the dressing: chop 1 tbsp parsley, 1 crushed garlic clove, the remaining lemon juice and rind, 1 sprig rosemary and mix in 2 tbsp oil; sprinkle over the cooked food when serving.

The potato cake recipe:

Boil 250g peeled potatoes, add milk or butter as needed and mash.  Meanwhile, Fry 1 well chopped leek  with 2 garlic cloves in butter.  Mix the potato and leek mixtures together when both are cooked, and remove from the heat.

Mix well with 1 beaten egg, 50g grated Gruyère cheese, 60g creme fraiche, 1 1/2 tbsp parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the mixture on a greased tin and bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees celcius until well browned (whether as cakes, or in muffin/yorkshire pudding tins).

From experience, it does seem that cheddar isn’t as good for this, although it doesn’t matter hugely.¬† Gruy√®re seems to make for a more solid cake.

The vegetables:

Remember to eat some greens!  Saute in melted butter if you are feeling naughty*.

Who made it: We both did different things as a combined effort.

Recipe: Leek and potato cakes with Gruy√®re: “The complete vegetarian Cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 177. Italian cod: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, February 20th.

* The vegetables, obviously.  What were you thinking of?

February 7, 2011

Salmon/Halloumi Ramen

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:57 pm

Anna wanted to try something a bit different with fish; I was left to do something inventive to make it work for vegetarians.


Salmon Ramen = Salmon noodles. With lots of flavour!

Halloumi Ramen = Haloumi Noodles. Also with lots of flavour!


The recipe is an interesting one, and worked very well Рwith the modifications we made.  It has several components:

  1. The marinade: Teriyaki.  This is an intriguing mix of (1 tbsp) sake, dark soy sauce and sherry, with (1 tsp) brown sugar and some garlic and ginger.
  2. The “meat”:¬† either fish or Halloumi, covered in the marinade (“glaze”) and grilled.¬† (I fried the Halloumi, but the effect is basically the same).
  3. Stock (vegetable stock mixed with garlic and soy sauce).  We also added plenty of vegetables here!
  4. Noodles (Ramen if possible, or whatever).
  5. Coriander, chopped chillies and beansprouts, for topping.

The recipe sounds complicated, but it actually works out very simple and only takes about 25 minutes.  You heat the stock and simmer (adding the veg as it needs it, e.g. carrots go in straight away, bamboo shoots and spinach go in at the end).  Meanwhile, mix the Teriyaki, and pour over the fish/halloumi on a greased dish.  Grill this until the fish crumbles but is pink inside, or until the Halloumi  is crispy on top.  Then cook the noodles (taking about 3 minutes) and serve by putting a bed of veg with noodles on top, add the fish, then the topping.

The dish is slightly hot and just a little different to anything we normally have.  Because we added plenty of veg, it was well balanced Рunlike the recipe below, which had a very sad amount in!  I particularly like the teriyaki, which would work well in many dishes.

Who made it: A joint effort between Dan and Anna.

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, February 7th.

January 30, 2011

Vegetable and Halloumi Pie

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:17 pm

This pie is (broadly speaking!) an adaptation of this fish pie.¬† But it is also completely different, so I’ll give a fill recipe.


Pie with pastry, as pie was meant to be.


The meaties at the table tried a little of my pie and concluded they would be happy with it as a main, so this was a definite keeper.  The halloumi is very salty but still has a delicate flavour, and everything benefits from being heated in the creamy sauce, soaking up a gentle richness not found in the veg alone.


50g puff pastry (or make your own!)

100g Halloumi cheese

50ml white wine

50g mushrooms

100g other veg (e.g. baby sweetcorn cobs, pepper, leek)

30ml double cream

50ml water

butter, for frying

1tsp flour, for roux

herbs (e.g. tarragon)

pepper, for seasoning


Chop up the halloumi into chunks and fry until golden on both sides.  Then sauté the vegetables in more butter and pepper them to taste.  Make the sauce by heating a knob of butter and adding the flour, mixing well to form a roux.  Add the white wine and water slowly, stirring continuously, then add the cream.  The sauce should be slightly thick, about the consistency of tomato ketchup Рadd more water if needed, then the herbs, and remove from the heat.

Throw the lot into a heatproof dish, then roll out the pastry to fit and pop it on top, crimping  the edges to make a firm fit and pierce the pastry with a fork.  Then paint the pastry with either egg or milk and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees celcius Рto prevent the pastry from burning (in our oven at least) it is best to cook the pie covered for the first 20 minutes.

Oddly enough, I made the sauce a bit too thick this time, and also poured it on as a top layer.  Although it did penetrate the pie, it also stuck a lot to the pastry, which made for a really interesting texture and taste. This might be a trick to remember for the future Рperhaps coating the underside of pie pastry with sauce before baking.

We will be trying something very similar to this in the future.

Who made it: Mostly Dan, with some assistance from Anna

Recipe: My own, but based on a heavily modified fishermans pie recipe from the link above.

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